On Saturday, the Earl and Countess of Wessex, who are currently on a tour of Canada, carried out a number of engagement in British Columbia. The Countess began the day with a visit to Jeneece Place at Victoria General Hospital.
Jeneece Place is a sort of home away from home for children who come to the hospital for medical care. It was started in 2012 by Jeneece Edroff, who lent her name to the facility. Ms. Edroff spoke to the Countess during her visit, telling her about how she managed to set up Jeneece Place, saying that Sophie “was extremely impressed, especially since a young person started this as a dream and made it a reality.” She also discovered that the two share a birthday – 20th January.
While at Jeneece Place, Her Royal Highness also played a spirited game of foosball, with Abigail McCorquodale and her parents. Ever modest, Sophie declared that she was “rubbish” at the game. However, she was teamed up with Abigail, and the two managed to defeat the young girl’s parents 5-2.
Nine year-old Abigail has had around 50 surgeries at Victoria General Hospital, and her mother, Brenda, said that Jeneece Place has been a great form of support for the family. “It just touches your heart that there’s such a facility available for families,” she said.
The Countess of Wessex also went to Our Place, a social centre that serves meals to the impoverished, elderly and mentally and physically challenged in Greater Victoria. Over 1200 meals are served on an average day to those in need. The Countess met with the patrons, hugging them and posing for pictures, before heading to the kitchen, where she served a lunch of salmon, salad and soup to the waiting people.
The executive director of Our Place, Don Evans, said: “It is a real treat to host British royalty in our inner-city home. Not only is it a unique experience, but it raises our profile in the community and shines a light on how Our Place is improving the lives of Victoria’s impoverished.”
While the Countess was carrying out her engagements, her husband Prince Edward attended a ceremony at Government House where he met with 87 youngsters who had been awarded the Duke of Edinburgh’s Gold Award. After shaking hands with all of them, he told them that they had “earned the right to walk a little taller” after successfully completing the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award.
The Award was established in 1956, by the Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Philip, to reward young people for completing a series of tasks which help them develop a sense of responsibility to their community and to themselves.